2246.  RB to EBB

As published in The Brownings’ Correspondence, 12, 141–142.


Tuesday Mg [Postmark: 10 March 1846]

Dear, dear Ba, if you were here I should not much speak to you,—not at first,—nor, indeed, at last,—but as it is, sitting alone, only words can be spoken, or (worse) written—and, oh how different to look into the eyes and imagine what might be said, what ought to be said, tho’ it never can be—and to sit and say and write, and only imagine who looks above me, looks down, understanding and pardoning all! My love, my Ba, the fault you found once with some expressions of mine about the amount of imperishable pleasures already hoarded in my mind, the indestructible memories of you,—that fault, which I refused to acquiesce under the imputation of, at first, you remember– Well, what a fault it was, by this better Light! If all stopped here and now,—horrible! Complete oblivion were the thing to be prayed for, rather! As it is, now, I must go on, must live the life out, and die yours– And you are doing your utmost to advance the event of events,—the exercise, and consequently—(is it not?)—necessarily improved sleep—and the projects for the fine days, the walking .. a pure bliss to think of! Well, now—I think I shall show seamanship of a sort, and “try another tack”—do not be over bold, my sweetest,—the cold is considerable,—taken into account the previous mildness .. one ill-advised (I, the adviser, I should remember!—) too early, or too late descent to the drawingroom, and all might be ruined,—thrown-back so far .. seeing that our flight is to be prayed for “not in the winter” [1] —and one would be called on to wait, wait—in this world where nothing waits, rests, as can be counted on. Now think of this, too, dearest, and never mind the slowness; for the sureness’ sake! How perfectly happy I am as you stand by me, as yesterday you stood, as you seem to stand now!

I will write to-morrow more: I came home last night with a head rather worse,—which in the event was the better, for I took a little medicine and all is very much improved to day,—I shall go out presently, and return very early and take as much care as is proper—for I thought of Ba, and the sublimities of Duty, and that gave myself airs of importance, in short, as I looked at my mother’s inevitable arrow-root this morning. So now I am well,—so now, is dearest Ba well? I shall hear to-night .. which will have its due effect, that circumstance, in quickening my retreat from Forster’s Rooms. All was very pleasant last evening—and your letter &c went à qui de droit, [2] and Mr W. Junior [3] had to smile good naturedly when Mr Burges began laying down this general law, that the sons of all men of genius were poor creatures—and Chorley & I exchanged glances after the fashion of two Augurs meeting at some street-corner in Cicero’s time, as he says. And Mr Kenyon was kind, kinder, kindest, as ever, “and thus ends a wooing”! [4] —no, a dinner [5] my wooing ends never, never; and so prepare to be asked to give, and give, and give till all is given in Heaven! And all I give you is just my heart’s blessing; God bless you, my dearest, dearest Ba[.]

Address: Miss Barrett, / 50. Wimpole St.

Postmark: 8NT8 MR10 1846 E.

Docket, in EBB’s hand: 132.

Publication: RB-EBB, pp. 527–528.

Manuscript: Wellesley College.

1. Matthew 24:20.

2. “To whom it rightfully belonged.”

3. William Wordsworth, Jr. (1810–83). In letter 2251, EBB relates that Kenyon shared the same information with her.

4. Cf. EBB, “Lay of the Brown Rosary,” line 222.

5. In his diary entry for 9 March [1846], Henry Crabb Robinson records that “Kenyon had but a small party, and I promised to go after dinner. Browning and others with him. Browning, whom I could not for a long time sympathise with, has at last made himself quite agreeable” (Henry Crabb Robinson on Books and Their Writers, ed. Edith J. Morley, 1938, p. 658).


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